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“Little Heroes” of Flute Maintenance

Happy Holidays, everyone!
We at Flute Examiner believe that a clean instrument plays the best. Some of the most humble household items are heroes when it comes to keeping our instruments shiny and clean.

This video is most suitable for band directors, music teachers, and beginning flutists, and anyone else who wants to know little time saving tricks to keep your flute super clean.

FlutyHacks is a mini-series of short educational videos providing hints for practicing, teaching, playing, and all sorts of hacks to improve the lives of flutists young to experienced. Videos are suitable for students – teachers – flute aficionados.

– Ai Goldsmith

About Ai Goldsmith

Ai is fascinated by all things beautiful and creative, including the lives of people and their thoughts. The flute is Ai’s ticket to the grand tour of the world—a ticket that unlocks gates, doors, and windows to places and hearts. Beauty, creativity, passion, wisdom, truth and courage are the landmarks that capture her attention the most. Ai joins the team at The Flute Examiner to share the souvenirs she finds on her grand tour with each reader.

The flute brings Ai invitations to perform as a solo and chamber music artist internationally, including the British Flute Society Convention, Canadian Flute Convention, and by the Hake-no-michi Society/Primavera String Quartet in Tokyo, Japan. In the United States, she is invited as a guest artist at events (such as the Flute Day at University of Nevada, Reno), and presents recitals at festivals and universities (including the NFA Conventions, University of California Davis, and Middle Tennessee State University).

As an educator, Ai presents workshops and masterclasses at universities, festivals, music organizations, and schools as a guest artist. She also offers private flute lessons in Cupertino, California. Interested to learn more? Please visit Ai at

  1. What are your thoughts about swabbing the inside of the flute with rubbing alcohol. Thanks

    • Ai Goldsmith

      Dear Chuck,

      I think it is unnecessary to swab the inside of the flute with alcohol if you are swabbing out the flute after each use, provided that your swab itself is clean. (Better to clean the swab than to use alcohol…)
      However, I think you can do it once in a great while under special circumstances, such as if you rescue an old flute from a rummage sale or someone’s attic. My concern would be getting alcohol onto the pads from the inner side, depending on how much alcohol is on the swab and how much the swab “bulks” out toward the pads from the chimney of the tone holes.

      I confess I have done this twice: once when I as a really young and lazy flute student because there was something growing inside the flute, and once again as a teacher on a student flute that had some things growing on the inside of the tube when I happened to examine it.
      Best Wishes,

    • Ai Goldsmith

      Chuck, I checked with master flute technician Paul Rabinov and he confirms: “[Ai] you are correct, there shouldn’t be any need to sterilize as the moisture that accumulates is condensation.” Cheers!

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